Boy holding books

Beyond the Books

“Your child is failing my class” is one of the most dreaded sentences for parents and is the lifeblood of a tutor’s career. But hiring a tutor is not only for the failing, but also for those who want to improve confidence and study skills. Even great students can benefit from tutoring sessions!

Lori Woods, a tutor at Sylvan Learning Center in Rapid City, believes that every student could benefit from tutoring, whether it is to improve the report card or to get ahead.

“Parents sign their children up for tutoring at Sylvan for a variety of reasons: children may be behind in school and need to catch up, enrichment to get further ahead in school, or even prepare for ACT or SAT,” Lori explained. “Children show growth in the areas they are being tutored both at Sylvan and in their classrooms. Tutoring helps them become more confident and sure of themselves in the skills they do possess, and they feel more comfortable asking questions about what they are learning.”

For children in large classes, it can be intimidating to ask a question if they aren’t understanding. What if their peers think they are dumb? What if the teacher singles them out? So, students will go on without getting the full picture. A one-on-one tutor will be able to answer your student’s questions in a supportive and nonjudgmental environment. The student will realize the importance of asking questions and begin to be comfortable and confident enough to do it in class.

Tutors can also help students develop study skills that will benefit them across their academic career, such as: effective note taking, active listing, organizational skills, and different study methods like flashcards or rewriting notes. These tools will ensure your child is prepared for the academic challenges ahead.

Finding a Tutor

Often schools will have the contact information of some good tutors. If not, a local tutoring center or tutor-finding websites, like, will help you find the perfect fit for your child.

Before hiring a tutor, ask about their qualifications, evidence of previous success like references or improved grades, where and how long the sessions will be, and what to do if your child’s academics are not improving.


Questions to Ask a Potential Tutor

  • What areas do you tutor?
  • What is your expertise in those areas?
  • What can I expect the tutoring to look like?
  • How will I know how my child is doing/progressing?
  • How will we communicate about my child and how often?
  • Will you be willing to communicate with my child’s teacher?
  • How will you know what skills my child has and what he needs?
  • How long and how often do you recommend my child be tutored?
  • What do you charge?


By Kelsey Sinclair